URI intergenerational retreat

From the perspective of the youngest participant Praveena

During the last week of March I was extremely grateful to have travelled to Belgium to take part in the intergenerational retreat at The Silence Farm. We all went in with open minds to see what beautiful things could arise from this elder/millennial collaboration.

During these four days I had the chance to meet the most wonderful people whom in my day to day life as student I wouldn’t get the chance to get to know on a deeper level. The elder generation consisted of: Patrick, Bill, Duncan; Sally and the millennial generation was made up of: Matt, Claire, Lotte and myself. We were all told to bring an item which was meaningful to us, something which we could tell a story about allowing us to start opening up to one another. This later lead to paired dialogues where we went of in our elder/millennial pairs (Patrick & I) to discuss about listening. “When in our lives had we felt listened to? When have we had to be a good listener? What makes a good listener?” We took in turns to ask each other these questions enabling us to build an idea of what made a good listener and how we can apply this to the retreat. No matter which generation we were from we had similar values of what made a good listener and how it is one of the key attributes in understanding another human on a deeper level. This activity not only allowed us to layout out key values amongst the group but also to share in our pairs personal stories. Later that evening we had a chance to take part in meditation, a sunset walk and eat amazing food! We also got to spend informal time together where we all sat around the fire and shared meaningful stories to us.



I introduced something I’ve done for many years with my friends and family “pit & peak” where we said out loud the highlight of our day (peak) and the low point of our day (pit) My super early flight to Brussels was my pit!! However it was soooo worth it and I’d take an early morning flight any day of the week to be in such a beautiful place with even more beautiful people! The next few days after breakfast we’d all go for a short walk together then come back to have journal writing time. We had opening prayers each morning which was beautiful to see the different things we each had to offer. Throughout the days: we made time lines of our lives, discussed pivotal moments in our lives, how has community effected us, what it meant to us and what it had done/can do for us. These topics really enabled for us to build a sense of community in the short time we had together. On the last day we went on dream! What can this community bring about? SO much is what I believe.


I truly believe the elder/millennial collaboration is where the boundaries can be broken. Each generation has so much to offer the other but how many of us have a deeper connection with someone of the opposite generation? It’s sad that we live so engrossed in our daily lives we are almost ignorant to the knowledge we can learn from each other. Leaving the Silence Farm I felt passionate and inspired to see there are some many others supportive of seeing a change in our world no matter what different ages, backgrounds and faiths we come from. This isn’t something new but is something that has a lot of room for growth! I believe there is a lot of positive growth to come.